Grow Our Own Newsletter November 2013

An Introduction

For this newsletter we have contributions from the new team leaders and a feature on what to do this month from Clive Sexton. There’s also news of a job that may be of interest – details at the end.

I thought I would mention that the bottle tops we used to save for recycling are now quite widely accepted by the Matthew Project. They have collection points in All Saints Church near John Lewis and at Waitrose. They prefer to receive them in washed milk containers which can also be recycled, rather than plastic bags.

What’s happening in GO2 at the moment?

From Christine Wilson

Welcome to the new growers who signed up last Sunday! If you need help getting going on your plot, please get in touch with Rochelle who is arranging a mentor for anyone who’d like one. Her email is training@grow-our-own.co.uk

It was nice that a few new growers stayed for lunch. This is always the first Sunday of the month and the idea is that everyone takes a dish to share, ideally one which includes an ingredient from their plot. It’s a good time to meet others, try out new recipes, and share information and ideas.

Onions and garlic are available to plant and we will soon have over-wintering broad beans. If you’re unsure about how to plant these things, there is plenty of information in the shed and on the website and, again, get in touch with Rochelle who will arrange for someone to help you.

We have several free plots at the moment so please tell your friends and family in case they’re interested in taking one. You might like to consider taking a second plot yourself?

I will be there on Sunday 20 October from 10.30am – 1 pm, so anyone interested can come along then.

Signing up to your team

If you can remember which team you signed up for, please now get in touch with the team leader who will be talking to you about allocating tasks. They are:

land/water management – land@grow-our-own.co.uk – Ian
maintenance/tools – maintenance@grow-our-own.co.uk – Jane G.
compost – compost@grow-our-own.co.uk – Phil
seeds – seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk – Jane C.
admin – admin@grow-our-own.co.uk – Christine
training/mentoring – training@grow-our-own.co.uk – Rochelle
food – food@grow-our-own.co.uk – Juyna

Team lists are posted on the noticeboards in the shed and the provisional tasks are in the minutes http://grow-our-own.co.uk/20130830/#main

Welcome to the new season – update from the Seeds and Plants team

From Jane Chittenden

We’re keen to collect ideas to shape into a plan for next season: ideas about things we could grow, things we could do differently and so on. Here’s a selection of great ideas from Peter A.

Seed sowing: why not try making our own seed and growing-on compost this year, in collaboration with the composting team?

Potatoes: most of us don’t have much room for these on our plots. Should we leave out the maincrops and concentrate instead on first earlies and second earlies (especially salad types like Charlotte), as these mature quickly and are very expensive in the shops?

Sweetcorn: let’s grow more of them this year, ideally open-pollinated varieties because we can save their seed.

Garlic: what about trying some bigger varieties?

Other thoughts: we could try aubergines, indoor cucumbers in the polytunnel; flowers for companion planting; a plot for borage for making liquid fertiliser (another venture to share with the composting team); teasel for the small birds – and other things to encourage wildlife, such as more wildlife-friendly plants and nestboxes; eco-netting (we could buy some in bulk and sell it to growers at a big discount).

And Christine was inspired by a visit to Hyde Hall recently, where they were growing squashes in a new way; we’re going to try that too.

If you’ve got ideas and suggestions for our Seeds and Plants plan, do share them with us! Email seeds@grow-our-own.co.uk

Here are a few things that you can be doing this month

From Clive Sexton

Soil that would otherwise be bare over the winter should be covered with e.g. leaf mould or with cut down plants such as runner beans that can be removed and composted in the spring.

As the soil cools down the only green manure seeds that will germinate reliably are field beans and Hungarian grazing rye

Crops to sow this month (and up to mid-November) are garlic, over wintering onions and autumn sown broad beans. This is also the best time to plant rhubarb sets.

Remove dead and yellowing leaves from brassicas. This helps to reduce whitefly infestation and lowers the risk of disease spreading

Collect leaves to produce leaf mould. The easiest method is to hammer four posts into the ground in a square shape, attach chicken wire around the perimeter, and pile the leaves inside. Alternatively, on a smaller scale, put leaves into a plastic sack that has been perforated, sprinkle with water, and leave for a year.


From Rochelle Wilson

Session Two of Gardening for Beginners is on November 3rd from 11.00-12.00 at the GO2 Shed.

This month Jane Chittenden, head of the seeds and plants team, will offer practical advice for new growers and anyone who wants to brush up on the basics. She will outline what’s on offer over the coming year and follow this up with a practical demo of how to plant onion sets, garlic and broad beans, all available now.

Session Two of Gardening with Nature is on 19th October from 10.00-12.30 at Marlpit Community Garden when George Ishmael will be discussing soil – maximising its potential; water – minimising its use; and plant communities.

Food Matters

From Juyna Lewis

Thanks to those who came to the last Food Share Sunday; we had some superb food to share out and excellent company. (Photos on the website when available.)

It was great to find out how others use the produce from the plots. I’m making another squash soup today to warm up on this cold day. If you haven’t been to a Food Share Sunday yet then please do come along and say ‘hi’ to fellow allotment holders; you never know you may make some really good friends. We did!

The next one is Sunday 3rd Nov at 1pm so bring whatever you fancy cooking or even a bottle or two would be great if you’re not into cooking. Please remember to bring your own utensils/plates – this will save on washing up. Thanks.

Finally, I’d like to have a VERY short meeting at 2pm after the Food Share of the ‘Food’ group to say ‘hi’, discuss some ideas & get to know each other. If you have signed up for this group then please do come along and bring your ideas/enthusiasm – I provide the teas!”

Job Opportunity

Norwich Farmshare wants to recruit a paid grower. More details and the job description is on their website : http://norwichfarmshare.co.uk/job-vacancy-grower/

May be of interest to some of our members.

Dates for your diary

Saturday 19th October Gardening with Nature – George Ishmael
Second session – at the Marlpit Community Garden 10.00-12.30

Sunday 20th October  Christine Wilson, Admin team leader, will be in the shed if you want to sign up for an extra plot

November 3rd Preparing your plot session 11 – 12 – with Jane Chittenden

Food Sharing  November 3rd 1pm onwards